03 Sep

The Austin Entrepreneur Network and The Idea Finishing School

A quick announcement about two great resources that are available to Central Texas entrepreneurs who are starting or who had started a business (a start-up) and need some help or direction.


First my friend Hall Martin who runs the Austin Entrepreneur Network (http://austinentrepreneurnetwork.org) is organizing a “Startup Business Class” on September 15 of 2009. But access to the course is limited. Note that admission into the course will be determined by the unique value of your business proposition, your ability to communicate said value, and your commitment to making the business a success. To apply go to http://austinentrepreneurnetwork.org/application. More information is below. Hall is a long-time member of the Austin angel community and is always helping those who are starting their own technology startups.


Also, for those technology entrepreneurs who live in San Antonio (and I would guess Austin too), my very good friend Dean McCall has just started the Idea Finishing School (http://www.ideafinishingschool.com). Their goal is to provide expert advice on technology, marketing, business structure and investment capital for many “early stage” companies. Dean who is the co-founder of Ideagin, LLC, is a technology catalyst, a “connector” and dear friend; it is great to see him taking such leadership role in the technology community helping startups.

So there you go, two great resources for entrepreneurs in Central Texas…

– – – – –

The Entrepreneur Startup & Growth Course: From Ideation to Funding

So you have a good idea, maybe a team of people that believe in that idea, and possibly even some money in the bank. So what are you going to do now to turn that idea into a full-blown business reality?

Some of the questions you need to ask yourself are:
* Can I articulate this idea?
* Is it unique?
* Will people pay for it?

AEN’s Entrepreneur Startup and Growth course helps you answer these and other crucial questions that must be addressed before you can turn a good idea into a good business.

Attendees will receive:

* Eight (8) two-hour classroom sessions – held once a week – covering critical topics on starting and funding a company.
* Two one-on-one mentoring sessions, focused on refining your Executive Summary and Fast pitch.
* A complete course book, with presentation slides, work assignments, and reference materials.

You should apply if:

* You have a business concept under development.
* You have started a business but don’t know where to go next.
* You have an established business but need funding to take it to the next level.

10 May

Top 5 smartphones and MNOs – Q1 2009 (USA)

Via @hametner, a couple of handset and Mobile Network Operators (MNO) metrics of interest (USA).

Top 5 U.S. smartphones sold in Q1 2009

  1. BlackBerry Curve
  2. Apple iPhone 3G
  3. BlackBerry Storm
  4. BlackBerry Pearl
  5. T-Mobile G1

Note that 3 out of 5 are BlackBerry handsets, and that 4 out of 5 are Java handsets! RIM seems to own over 50% of the *consumer* space in the US; i.e these numbers do not include enterprise sales. As @hametner ponders, “does this mean that Apple needs to expand beyond exclusivity to have a broader cross carrier offering?”… Yes,interesting…

Top 5 US MNOs by number of subscribers at the end of Q1 2009

  1. Verizon — 86.7M subs
  2. AT&T — 78.2M subs
  3. Sprint — 48.1M subs
  4. T-Mobile — 33.2M subs
  5. US Cellular — 6.2M

Verizon continues to be ahead, and with Verizon committing to LTE that means a very large LTE deployment supposedly starting in 2009, and with rumors that Apple and Verizon have been talking that would be a great opportunity for Apple and its “Pinky and the Brain” world dominance expansion plans for the iPhone!

Other MNOs, at&t and T-Mobile are all either committed or still evaluating LTE with eyes towards 2011, with Sprint pretty much committed to WiMAX (at this point).


Disclaimer: I’m a Pinky and the Brain fan!

21 Nov

T-Mobile says Double Opt-In No Longer Required

One small step for T-Mobile, a bigger step for end-users…

It would be great if all network providers dropped the “double opt-in” requirements that makes campaign certification (and re-certification over time) a pain in the neck, not to mention expensive. Instead, companies that offer services over texting should (vs. being mandated to) follow the guidelines defined by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), which are guidelines that will continue to evolve over time, as needed by the market needs.

Wouldn’t it be great if “double opt-in” was a general user-profile/settable preference that is set once but that it worked across all campaigns (users can always STOP the service at any time). Imagine a setting that the user can set once on their first message ever sent by the user, asking if she would like to enforce double opt-in or not on all future texting service notifications (as a side-note, double opt-in is only really needed for Pushes/notifications and not User-initiated requests).

…hm, so that might be an idea, a web-based API to query for the double opt-in setting, perhaps an extension to OpenSocial or something similar? Of course, I am over-simplifying this, as there are other implications, such as security, and where would this setting reside? At the carrier? At the message aggregator? At the user’s “global profile of choice”?


[Via Mobile Marketing Watch]

18 Nov

The gods are being good to Network Operators

…or, the Network Providers/Operators must be having a blast.

The network providers are doing just fine… new cool handsets here and there, handset exclusivity on certain networks, message usage is up, data consumption is up, new services are coming up, very cool applications from web to native, developers and more developers, and prices are up…

Not too bad for the current state of the economy, don’t you agree?

I’ll tell you, mobility is the place to be…


05 Nov

What will drive differentiation across Android platform providers?

The Android platform is an open platform, governed by the Open Handset Alliance (OHA). OHA has many members, and today it includes seven network operators and four handset manufacturers.

While the platform itself should be consistent across vendors/providers, thank God, I wonder what will be the differentiation challenges that handset manufacturers and network providers will face?

The handsets will all be capable of (from the S/W perspective) the same things, so will differentiation come purely from hardware design, for example, better handset footprint, layout, screen sizes, better battery consumption?

Or perhaps differentiation will come from the cost of ownership, as in monthly cost for voice/data/text plans?

Maybe it is all the above.

But I think a big part of this battle be in the User Interface. While the concepts of workspaces, and how S/W and UI is designed and written will or should remain consistent across platforms/vendors, we will see a plethora of UI designs and information architecture/organization. Is this a good thing? In theory it is, as it will allow for better and neater UIs and related innovation. I’m not sure yet the impact on the development and testing of Android applications… Also, will that UI innovation and differentiation make it back to the open source tree? Not sure yet, but I will find out soon, but my guess today, probably not.

Access to content and integration with the Web, which is based on applications and services, should be another differentiator. Integration to Google services have proven to be a winner, but Google services probably will be available to all Android platform vendors, providing no differentiation across Android vendors.

So differentiation between Android vendors will be a challenge, a challenge the iPhone doesn’t have, as there is only one iPhone vendor (and platform, unless you go across classes of iPods).